Sunday, January 29, 2012

Alarm Clock

How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?
-- Proverbs 6:9

Have you ever stayed up too late at night...and paid the price the next morning by oversleeping? When you're tired enough, it's all too easy to snooze through the sound of a blaring alarm clock. And once you finally wake up (usually startled and confused), you have to scramble to make up for lost time.

Annie Shapiro knows how that feels. On November 22, 1963, the then 50-year-old Canadian businesswoman suffered a stroke while listening to news reports about President Kennedy's assassination. She then fell into a deep coma--and didn't come out of it for nearly 30 years! Medical experts tried and failed to wake her from her slumber. But on October 14, 1992, Annie shocked her husband when she suddenly announced, "I want to see the I Love Lucy Show."

Annie Shapiro awoke to a changed world that deeply disturbed her. First, a look in the mirror revealed the nearly unrecognizable image of a wrinkled, gray-haired woman. Her two children were now middle-age. Television programs were in color rather than black and white. And people were carrying around seemingly magical telephones that had no cords.

It took a doctor administering high blood pressure medication to finally awaken Annie from her coma. But what about you and me? 

We're not talking about medical issues here...but rather our spiritual condition.

What would it take before we finally wake up to the fact that we've pushed God away from certain areas of our life? For example, losing a job because of alcohol or drug use could certainly be an alarm about the immediate changes that must be made to prevent further damage. Another spiritual red alert might be a spouse's or child's growing alienation and withdrawal. The signs and symptoms are there all along. The question is whether or not we'll wake up in time and do something about them.

Of course, an alarm's effectiveness is in direct proportion to how much we don't want to hear it. In Old Testament times, God often sent prophets to tell the people to stop sinning against Him and start living their lives His way. And sometimes, the people responded to His call in true repentance. But too often--just like we can do today--they made excuses about their behavior, denied there was a problem or convinced themselves that everyone was doing it.

But the problems remain. And the alarm bells are still sounding.

If that's your situation--or maybe what's facing someone you know--there's no time to waste. Ask God to open your eyes and ears (or theirs) to clearly perceive the message He's sending. And whatever the issues may be, God's prescribed life-changes must be made as soon as matter how unpleasant the process may be.

Is there an unsettling alarm that's blaring in your ears? This is no time to hit the off switch and fall back asleep.

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